Admittedly, I got stuck in protester traffic on Grand & Forest Park simply because I decided to 1) leave work 15 minutes late, and 2) stop for coffee on the way home. They all came marching down with their enormous, outstretched banner as I was exiting Starbucks. I guess I was in the right place at the right time. ^_^ The part of the banner I saw said, “Justice anywhere is justice everywhere.” The demonstration was shortlived, but it’s not every day that you get blocked by protesters! You could say, and plenty do, that this specific kind of law-violating protest is ineffective and just pisses people off for a few minutes. I think that even something like blocking traffic with a Justice banner is meaningful. You’re not just pissing people off, you’re reminding them that you’re still angry and that the issue isn’t fading away. I am glad to be reminded of it. And I love that all the shops on South Grand are still boarded up with plywood. On my drive to and from work, when I see all the beautiful designs and messages lining each side of the street, I am reminded of how much art matters. Art will always matter. I was out in the snow taking photos of the murals last week, and I saw a man say to his little girl, “Look at this honey, isn’t it beautiful?” THIS is why art matters. What that man said, it’s not something that people normally say when they see plywood that was put up in response to riots. That’s something that people say when a community–when artists–decide to respond to frustration with love. When that happens, you start seeing murals of the St. Louis skyline with giant phoenixes rising from the ashes. You see hearts, peace signs, flowers, TEARS, birds, sunrises, hands…and you are reminded that this city is not silent about its brokenness. Art will always matter.
Photo taken by a coworker